Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

July 30, 2010

UW Yakima Valley GEAR UP Parent Oscar Hernandez Wins National Honor

SEATTLE – University of Washington Yakima Valley GEAR UP parent Oscar Hernandez was one of five individuals presented the 2010 National Council for Community and Education Partnerships GEAR UP Parent Leadership Award in Washington, D.C., July 20.

The honor was presented at the NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference and recognized parents or family leaders who have made a significant contribution to a GEAR UP program. In its fourth year, the award aims to highlight parents who are true leaders in the GEAR UP community by helping to increase the number of parents and families involved in the program, promote the program in the community, lead the charge to create a college going culture in the community and lead school improvements or reform.

Hernandez, a business-owner and father of three sons, has been an active member of Parent Advisory Committees and works closely with the Sunnyside High School GEAR UP Parent Liaison, as well as high school and school district staff members. He has attended city, county and state-wide events and along with his wife Elizabeth, works to recruit other parents to attend workshops, meetings and training classes.

Hernandez has also created and distributed several multimedia/bilingual public service announcements, while also participating on parent panels at various regional and national conferences.  He has played a crucial role in promoting awareness of the GEAR UP Parent Academy by organizing promotional radio appearances, and also worked to get local television coverage as well.

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a grant program designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. GEAR UP provides six-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high poverty middle and high schools. The University of Washington Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity manages two large GEAR UP grants serving students in Eastern Washington and Skagit Valley.